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Chapter 228 – Artillery Operation
“Well, attention to all remnants of the Holy Kingdom’s army holed up in Gleiseburg. This is an ultimatum. Disarm and surrender immediately. Otherwise, we will break down the walls and suppress you. We cannot guarantee your lives in any way. If you surrender immediately, we will guarantee your lives and promise to return you safely to the Holy Kingdom. Regarding the guards who are under the command of the Holy King’s army, I also promise you that you will not be charged with any crime. I repeat, this is an ultimatum. Surrender immediately.”
Using the magic loudspeaker installed on my air board, I issue an ultimatum to the remnants of the Holy Kingdom’s army holed up in Gleiseburg. Well, Danan and Ellen had tried to persuade them many times before I spoke to them, but they never surrendered. I gave them an ultimatum, but the result would be the same.
“But why are they so stubborn?”
I asked Ellen, who was standing by my side while I waited for the opponent’s response.
“The bishop assigned to Gleiseburg is a man named Ehrwig, who is said to be particularly strict, or rather harsh, with subhumans among the mainstream. Perhaps he thinks that they shouldn’t cooperate with the subhuman group or something like that.”
Ellen then let out a sigh. Knowing the twisted and distorted teachings of the current mainstream, she can’t help but feel sorry for this Bishop Ehrwig. He is in the situation he is in now because he only knew the wrong teachings. She must be thinking that his harsh behavior toward the subhuman must not have been so if he had only been exposed to the old and correct teachings from the beginning.
“I see… Well, there’s nothing we can do about the matter here.”
Ellen then stared at the city walls. She probably intends to burn everything that happens here into her memory through her red eyes.
“Now, unfortunately, there seems to be no response, so let’s start making preparations.”
This time, I prepared a front-loaded cannon with a mount. You can think of it as a so-called modern “cannon.” It is the one that you fill the muzzle with gunpowder and shells and then fire the steel shells with a bang using a firelock.
A black cast-iron cannon rests in the center of a wheeled stand, and metal boxes containing shells and gunpowder bags are installed on either side of it. Ten of these cannons were prepared for this mission. The number of personnel required to operate one cannon is four, so for this, we selected 40 men from the elite unit led by Danan.
First, I selected four of them and gave them a lecture on how to use the cannon. Of course, I also let the other members of the unit observe.
“This is a weapon called a cannon. It fires steel shells at great speed, and you can think of it as a kind of battering ram that can be fired from a distance where arrows can’t reach. It can’t shoot with precision, but it’s very effective if you’re aiming at big, immobile walls or gates.”
Saying this, I smacked the shiny black cannon.
“With this cannon, you can break down the city’s walls without being repelled by the enemy and make the gates full of holes. Once the walls and gates are breached, it will be easier to take them down.”
I taught the elite soldiers of the Liberation Army how to use the cannon while they looked at me with great interest.
“First of all, you need to clean the gun cavity. If you neglect to do so, the shells will not fire properly and may jam, causing the steel barrel to explode. I don’t need to explain what happens if that happens, do I? Never neglect this task. Unless you want to die.”
The elite soldiers nodded seriously.
“Oops, I almost forgot. Before you start cleaning, there is one thing you must do. First of all, one of you must hold down the fire gate at the rear of the cannon with your thumb. This is for safety. This is to prevent dust or anything else from entering the gun cavity and also to prevent a misfire in case it is loaded incorrectly. Even when the cannon is not yet loaded with ammunition, one person should always keep their finger on this fire gate except when firing. It gets hot when you fire a lot of rounds, so equip yourself with gloves.”
Saying this, I have one of the four of them hold down the fire gate with his thumb.
“Then, the first thing to do is to clean it out. We’ll use this spiral rod to scrape off any burning debris and garbage in the gun cavity. After that, use this sponge to thoroughly wipe off any burning debris and other trash. The gunpowder to be packed later is sensitive to moisture, so don’t make it too wet. A light dab of water is all that is needed.”
With these words, I plunged a stick with a spiral claw through the cannon’s mouth and scraped off the dirt in the gun cavity with a scraper. Next, I dipped the sponge stick in water from a tub I had prepared beforehand and then cleaned the inside of the gun cavity. After showing them how to do it, I had two elite soldiers do the same thing.
“When the cleaning was finished, load the cannon. First, you fill the gunpowder bag in the box over here through the muzzle and push it in with the butt of this cleaning tool. This part is called a loaded arrow.”
I put the powder bag in through the muzzle, received a sponge from an elite soldier, and pushed it into the back of the cannon with an arrow attached to the butt of it.
“Next, take the shells out of this box and fill them in the same way through the cannon’s muzzle. Push it in the same way with the arrow so that it can be pushed firmly into the back of the cannon. Well, now it’s loaded. Next, we’re ready to fire. The cleaners should avoid the side of the cannon. There will be a tremendous noise when it fires, so don’t forget to cover your ears.”
With that, I returned the sponge to the elite soldier and went to the elite soldier who was holding the fire gate with his thumb this time.
“As part of the firing preparations, first, shove this cone into the fire gate to make a hole in the gunpowder bag. Next, pour the ignition charge smoothly into the gate. Now we are ready to fire.”
I bit off the end of the paper casing filled with one dose of ignition charge and poured the ignition charge into the gate.
“After that, just push the fuse attached to this fuse pole into the fire gate, and the steel shells will fly away with a roar. Let’s fire a shot as a greeting. Cover your ears!”
The cannon’s target was already aligned with the walls of Gleiseburg. I pushed the flare attached to the end of the fuse into the fire gate.
A roar like thunder or the roar of a giant beast rang out, and a cloud of pure white smoke covered the area. At the same time, a scream or a shout came from where the mouth of the cannon aimed. As I brushed off the smoke with my hand, I looked around the area where I had been aiming and saw that part of the wall had been damaged. Yeah, if it feels like this, we can destroy the wall by firing ten cannons at once several times.
“The power is as you can see. Now you just need to fine-tune the sights, clean them, load them, and fire. Repeat. Do you remember the steps? Hold the gate, clean the claw, clean with a sponge, fill the gunpowder, load the shells, drill the holes with a cone, prepare the ignition charge, fire on command, and go back to the beginning. This time, I’ll be the one giving the orders, so you just follow the orders.”
There seemed to be no questions, so I put all the men in position.
“Let’s go, then. Target, Gleiseburg ramparts. Aim!”
At my command, the elite soldiers move their cannons with mounts and set their sights on the walls of Gleiseburg.
“Hold the fire gate! Clean the claws!”
The elite soldiers with spiral rods in their hands plunge them through the cannon’s muzzle and clean the inside of the cannon with a scrabbling sound. Most of the cannons are new, so there shouldn’t be any dirt in them.
Next, the elite soldiers with sponge sticks dip the sponges in water from the barrels and clean the gun cavity.
“Start loading! Set the gunpowder bags!”
The elite soldiers take the gunpowder bag out of the box and push it through the cannon’s mouth with a loaded arrow.
“Load the shells!”
Next, they stuff the steel shells through the cannon’s mouth in the same way and push them in with a loaded arrow. The shells are now loaded.
“Prepare to fire! Open the hole with the cone and insert the igniter!”
The elite soldier, who was holding the fire gate with his thumb, inserted the prepared cone into the gate to make a hole in the powder bag and then poured the igniter into the gate. Good.
“Cover your ears! Prepare to fire… Fire!”
Boom, boom, boom, the sound of artillery fire overlapping one another, and the area goes white with gunpowder smoke. I also hear someone coughing. Should I provide the artillerymen with masks?
Then, a beat later, a scream is heard from the direction of Gleiseburg. When the smoke cleared, there was a wall that had been shattered here and there by ten shells. There is no sign of collapse yet, but the damage is definitely done.
“Alright, that’s some nice damage. Aim at the sights! Hold fire! Start cleaning! Claws first!”
The elite soldiers who have confirmed the results of the battle start reloading with a battle cry like a cheer. Let’s see how many shots Gleiseburg’s walls can keep.
Gleiseburg’s Guard POV
While clicking my tongue on top of the wall, I stared at the dark-haired man who was giving us some kind of ultimatum. If I could surrender, I would. But there was nothing I could do if my wife, children, and relatives were taken hostage. We are all born in Gleiseburg, and not a single one of us in the guard is truly loyal to the Holy Kingdom or the Lord God Adol.
When I was a child, these men who came into Gleiseburg with a self-important look on their faces treated my childhood friends and the neighborhood brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts who used to play with me just because they were subhuman. They looked down on us, calling us sinful barbarians who had been in communion with subhumans. To hell with them.
But who the hell is that guy? He doesn’t look that strong, but the soldiers of the Liberation Army seem to be listening to him. He doesn’t look like that, but is he a man of high rank? In the Liberation Army, which is full of subhumans, it seems strange that a human man has a high position… But what is that guy doing? The man is doing something with a black metallic-looking tube.
As I tilted my head, the black metallic cylinder the man was toying with erupted in a plume of white smoke, and a roar rang out. Then, a beat later, the city walls shook. What the hell!
“W-what the hell just happened! Report the situation!”
The knight of the Holy Kingdom’s army shouted in a pompous manner. Soon after, a soldier belonging to the guard deployed on the opposite side of the gate came to report.
“Damage to the walls? From that distance without using magic?”
It certainly didn’t look like magic was used, but isn’t that shiny black cylinder some kind of magic tool? If it’s just one shot and all this commotion… hey, hey, there’s ten of them lined up in a row. What the hell would happen if they all attacked at once?
“Well, I must say that the walls of Gleiseburg were quite formidable.”
After five rounds, part of the wall began to collapse, and after four more rounds, it began to collapse here and there.
Naturally, since we were attacking unilaterally from outside the enemy’s counterattack range, our damage was zero. I can’t say anything about the damage on the other side, but I guess it must have been a little better since we warned them over the loudspeaker several times along the way that they were in danger if they didn’t move away from the walls and gates.
“It’s tremendous, isn’t it? Is this Kosuke’s power?”
Ellen muttered, covering her mouth and nose with a white handkerchief. Amalie-san and Bertha-san are waiting in the rear watchtower, so they may be able to feel the cannon’s power better than us, whose vision is obstructed by the smoke from the cannon.
“Kosuke, I want to enter the city.”
“Roger that. I’ll build a bridge and send an escort.”
I put the cannon away in my inventory, and, escorted by elite soldiers and Ms. Zamir, I head toward the moat and build a bridge over the water moat with stone blocks.
“Then we will begin our raid. Never touch unarmed civilians. Naturally, looting is also forbidden. Do you understand?”
“Then, let’s move in. The men in charge of artillery will be in charge of protecting the rear. Understood?”
The 40 men in charge of artillery will protect me, Ellen, and the others in the rear, as well as the civilian staff and Adol clergy. I was told that even though they were covering their ears, they felt some discomfort in their ears and sense of balance due to the sound of the artillery at such a close range. In a melee, such a small difference could be fatal.
We watched as the elite soldiers, all equipped with matching armor, entered Gleiseburg.
I hope they have lost their will to fight after having shown such complete destruction of the city walls and gates. As long as there are many Adol clerics beside me here, we should be able to heal them as long as they are not dead, so I hope they will surrender quickly.
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